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Back Buzz - October 11, 2014

pumping heartGerry's Bakery and Coffee Shop, 299 South Road, Walkley, South Yorkshire

Months ago I was excited to hear about a new artisan bakery that was due to open in the main parade of shops in Walkley's South Road. Considering the types of businesses South Road has been home to throughout the years -- from traditional greengrocers to bargain beer shops and the usual plethora of hair salons -- this was welcome news. For months I passed by the future bakery, observing the very slow progress. Just when I thought it was never going to open I would see new signs of hope: a new floor, the introduction of tabletops and counters, and finally the espresso machine. And then the bakery opened, very gradually at first, with specific breads being sold on specific days until the loaves sold out.

Not long ago Gerry's Bakery and Coffee Shop finally seemed officially open, with the large rack of breads visible through the window. I was especially excited when I spotted the espresso machine finally in operation.

A couple of weeks ago I had a half hour to kill between a meeting at the Walkley Library and my job in town, and I was badly in need of caffeine. So this was the perfect chance to stop in and sample Gerry's coffee.

The cafe features rustic wooden tables on a rustic floor. The heavy aroma of hearty fresh baked breads is very inviting and reassuring. The breads include traditional cobs and loaves named after Walkley streets as well as speciality breads like challah, soda bread, scones, and unusual creations like cheese and Marmite, fennel and cumin, and aniseed plaits. Customer suggestions for bread ingredients are welcomed by Gerry, and new creations are frequent.

My double macchiato was surprisingly nice, something I wasn't expecting to find in traditionally village-like (and yet to be trendy) Walkley. It was served in a proper white cup with demitasse spoon along with a glass of water on a pleasingly long stripy tray. It was difficult to focus my concentration on my espresso while inhaling all of the fresh bakery smells and especially drooling over the cheese scones, the fig and oat bread, and the cider and apple bread. But I was here on this day for the coffee, not the bread, so I persevered without succumbing to the distraction.

As I drank my macchiato I chatted with Gerry about his coffee. The beans are from Yorkshire Coffee, a Sheffield roaster owned by the proprietor of Upshot Espresso, a cafe in Glossop Road. Gerry is hoping to get two more bean choices including the popular Mississippi Blend by Pollards.

We also talked about travelling through airports and having foreign accents in Sheffield -- mine being American and his being Welsh. Gerry's cafe recently hosted a Labour Party gathering for local MP Paul Blomfeld, who met with his constituents over a cup of coffee. The cafe is also a venue for local Walkley-related exhibits. It's definitely making its mark as a welcome neighbourhood establishment.

Hopefully more useful businesses will start opening up in Walkley. What about a good Greek restaurant? A bagel bakery? A reasonable B&B? A fine cask ale pub? Wake up, guys! One hair salon in South Road is enough, isn't it?

Speaking of moving things reminds me of a recent Facebook posting. This occurred when I uploaded a photo of myself wearing JD's Panama hat at a local pub:

Great hat! Thanks, Dogandi! Should I steal it? Love the hat, yes, steal it! Where is the pub? Have I been there? You steala my hat I breaka your face. Hi, Barbie doll. You need a hat to be part of the "hat people". Hats are back and COOL. I love hats!!! Now if I could just wiggle my nose and transport myself to y'all from Seattle! I'm still working on the molecule transporter device. It'll certainly save us all that airport security and toiletries-in-plastic-bag hassle. Barb, you haven't yet been to the pub. According to Google Maps it's 0.2 miles from our house and approximately a 4-minute walk uphill. Thank you! I'd like to offer myself up as a human tester on that device when the time comes. And regarding 'uphill', now that my ticker is fully functional I just may be able to do that. Be careful of the pilot waves. You may have trouble calculating their velocity... I'm more worried about all the mobile phone masts. May have to work on the idea of a massive cellular station transmitting molecules as message packets. You will have problems with pilot waves--the rest mass does occur in the Schroedinger equation, but it occurs in the kinetic-energy operator (-hbar^2/2m) Del^2. The Schroedinger equation has as its Hamiltonian (-hbar^2/2m) Del^2 + V (all of which operates on the wave function psi) but there's no additional mass term mc^2 for the rest energy. The rest energy is added to the Hamiltonian only in the Klein-Gordon or Dirac equation.

No mathematical argument can resolve the fundamental logical question: If you have to work a very mildly relativistic quantum-mechanics problem on a desert island (with no recourse to blessing from Authority or even from the Messiah himself) which equation will you use? Because the equations are not equivalent to each other in a "nonrelativistic" limit, one of them has to be wrong. What if I fill a room with 10,000 monkeys with laptops? It will not answer the fundamental question posed by myself and a colleague. This matter has been published and no physicist has answered it thus far. Nevertheless maybe ten thousand monkeys may be needed to state how many electrons are necessary to carry, localized in time given the minimum uncertainty (in spatial coordinates) a packet say any garden variety TCP packet including its transmission and trailing headers. Remember, it is a fermionic interaction (between photons and electrons) which caries the signal by a wave "packet". Sort of like the wave along a string. i^i = exp(-pi/2 + 2pi*k) where k is an integer. So pi gets into the picture just fine.

I don't know how to get phi into the expression, but I have a theory about phi: It shows up where it shows up, and gives no insight of connection between the places it shows up. Metaphorically, it shows up at the party and provides entertainment but never brings the wine. Pi, as we know, does much better.

Now, I have an additional theory involving phi that I believe is original. From introspection and a few photographic examples I know it is true. Independent of other attributes (weight, height, etc.), sexual attractiveness of a woman is optimized when waist-to-hip ratio is Phi = (sqrt(5) - 1)/2 = 0.618... (Psychology Today said the optimum ratio is 0.7, but I think they were wrong.)

Phi as a zaftig ratio doesn't fit into pentagrams or golden rectangles or Fibonacci sequences, but these things don't go together any better without my zaftig factor.

What do you think?

Oh, that is a computation of i**i in FORTRAN notation. Okay, to get this to succeed I'd better start requisitioning supplies. First a large abandoned industrial plant for space. Then 10,000 monkeys, 10,000 laptops, 10,000 mobile phones, a sexy woman, a nice bottle of cab-shiraz, a cat in a box, a surfboard...would I need a Merino sheep as well? Yes, of course. Right. I'd better get on eBay right away.